Dog: Beds   Clothes   Ramps   Remedies   Sweaters   Toys   Treadmills    Wheelchairs   

Mildred Isabella and the cane challenge

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, FL, USA)

In picture, Billy (hubby), Dalton (grandson) Mildred Isabella and myself

In picture, Billy (hubby), Dalton (grandson) Mildred Isabella and myself

There we were, Mildred Isabella and I, in another doctor's waiting room -- doing what you do in a waiting room -WAITING.

I have been working with Mildred Isabella to understand chain commands, and we also have been working with different people in taking things to someone other than myself. But it has always been people she knows. At first she would choose to take things to someone without my telling her to...but she was just told to bring it back to me. It seemed like she had it all down pat.

Then a lady, who was sitting and waiting also, dropped her cane. By her face I could tell that it would be a struggle for her to reach down and get the cane so, saying a silent prayer, I asked the lady if she would mind the dog getting the cane for her. She was delighted at the idea!

Taking a deep calming breath, I said, "Mildred Isabella, look! Yes, that's it...go, get it and give" with some pauses in between each command until she had completed each in order. To the lady's great joy, Mildred Isabella picked up and gave her the cane. To MY great joy, Mildred Isabella not only did what was asked of her...but she came RIGHT BACK to me as she is supposed to. Perhaps she has finally figured out that she is MY service dog and should be next to me...or perhaps (as she had already been rewarded for another task completed earlier) she remembered that in my treat pouch, instead of the same ol' kibble she USUALLY gets, today there were Carry Outs...a meaty little treat that seem to be her absolute favorite thing in the world. Whichever it was I was pleased to give her that treat!

It is difficult at times, especially with a dog that loves everybody, to tell when that dog is ready to do something like letting the leash go in a waiting room. She has been consistent in her training for about two months. I asked if anyone would mind her going to the aid of the woman...and everyone was a dog lover (and probably like I would have been in their situation) wouldn't mind if she got distracted. Had anyone been afraid of the dog or really didn't want the possibility of her coming up close to them, or even if Mildred Isabella had not done these tasks over and over so many times and did it right each time...then I would NEVER have taken the chance of her being out of my direct control for a second!

She is much too important to me to take chances. Not only do I have the deep love for dogs, especially my own, but there is even a CLOSER bond -- we are beginning to really be a team. She knows what I am going to do almost as soon as I do. The knowledge that she "has my back" if I need her to help me comforts me in ways that knows no words to explain. She is my partner, my fur friend, my helper, my FREEDOM, my JOY, my INDEPENDENCE. There is no way I would put her in any danger.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

WEREWOLF ATTACKS WOMAN

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, FL, USA)

So...last night I snuck into my bedroom and closed the door...then went into the bathroom and closed the door. Turning on the water and adding the salt to my bath, I sat down to soak away all my problems while I read a good book (or two...) but I had little idea of what fun was in store. Seems that there is a little black lab that lives in our house and she heard water running.

Now, there are two things that Mildred Isabella would sell me for in a heartbeat -- I know my place in her priorities, and I am #3. Don't get me wrong -- as long as #1 and #2 are nowhere to be seen or heard, I am right at the top of the list...but her number 1 favorite thing, being a lab, is water...especially running water! Her number 2 favorite thing is children...and just a few hours before she heard running water coming from my bathroom, she had witnessed two kids playing with the hose! I am sure that she must have been in doggy hell for not being allowed to frolic with kids IN RUNNING WATER.

And so we are back to the running water... apparently Mildred Isabella has been holding back on some secrets she has...because she managed to turn the knob on BOTH doors and rush in blinded to ANYTHING other than the sound of running water. I know she didn't have a clue that I was in the tub already, because she was very surprised to find me there.

Here is the thing though...she is 65 lbs...give or take an ounce. She flew from about 1/2 way across the bathroom in order to get to the water faster than a speeding bullet. And she landed, not too gracefully, on my leg...then realized I wasn't overly happy with her (there may have been a reference to her being a female dog...which she IS...) and she tried to spin around with the grace of a bull in a china shop. The landing managed to tear gouges into my leg...the longest being 9 inches...the shortest being 7 3/4 inches. Each is about 1/4 inch wide...and only about three layers of skin (only? did I really say that?). The spin to try to get away from an unhappy momma took its fury out on my other leg...fortunately, there wasn't the launch into space with the spin so those really were just scratches.

Today I went to my arthritis doc (he also treats the Lupus) and he was NOT happy with the way the leg was looking. It is swollen, hot and red. So out comes the script for some prednisone...and I already felt the weight gain. It also gives me a belly ache and a half when I take it...so I will be having to take phenegran...which makes me sleep about 23 hours and 59 minutes out of each day. That doesn't leave much time to do other things! And of course, the antibiotic...

I am glad he can't see my leg NOW -- from the knee down it is VERY red and VERY swollen. I will have to call him tomorrow if it doesn't look better...

Just to give you an idea of what the leg looks like -- my bus driver saw it and said, "OMG - what the (something) happened to your leg? It looks like a werewolf freaking attacked you!!" (she was close...it was a water rabid lab!) She doesn't impress easily either...smiles.

Too bad it wasn't closer to Halloween or I would use that line, instead of the ol' "the lab jumped in the tub" story.

Still, it is such a GOOD line, perhaps I will use it for the title of my story...


Editor's note: Wow, Viki, it's never a dull moment with you guys!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella

by Viki
(Bryceville, Florida)

Mildred Isabella 5-30-09

Mildred Isabella 5-30-09

Mildred Isabella is named after two wonderful ladies -- one, Mildred Bell, was THE definition of a Southern Belle. She was close to 50 years older then I was but we got along like grandmother and granddaughter. The other lady was my grandmother on my mom's side, Isabella Robertson. She was from Scotland and sweet as could be -- with just a little feistiness to make her fun.

We haven't figured out a nickname yet...Millie, Dred (my husband's idea), Izzy, Is a bella, or Bella...but Squirt seems to fit her just fine. Since she is a lab puppy weighing only 17.9 lbs and we have the two big girls, Patches and Hannah -- at 106lbs and 78lbs -- she SHOULD be intimidated by them. But she gets right between them and I am a bit afraid that if they clap their backsides together while she is in the middle, all we will have is a little squirt!

Since Hannah has been retired as a service dog, due to hip problems, Mildred Isabella is her replacement. Hopefully since she is a lab she will be much better at the retrieve than either of my other girls! They say that training a Great Pyrenees is like training a cat...and I believe it now!

Mildred Isabella has already had a day out and about and did fantastic. We went to the doctor's office, to the pharmacy and to Hardee's. She was well behaved in all three places and only got a little excited at the smell of my chicken biscuit. But then again, so did I. Ha!

Tomorrow we have another outing and I am sure that my sweet little lab will be up to the challenge.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella meets Santa Claus

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, Florida )

Mildred Isabella and Santa '09

Mildred Isabella and Santa '09

Today at Wal-mart, Mildred Isabella had a special surprise. I made her a "coat" that used to be a tree skirt and has the embroidery "I believe in Santa" on it. Since I am of Scottish descent, I backed it with plaid. There were also a set of two antlers (one off white and one brown) that I sewed together and added a bit of elastic under the chin. Between the antlers and coat, she was (as always) super cute!

She was getting lots of smiles and the chance to make new friends. Then we were told that Santa would like to meet her! Wow! Santa!

So we went and got in line until it was time to meet "the man." Mrs. Claus was there also. Santa announced "here comes one of my reindeer now" and Mildred Isabella went up to him and sat (on the floor...she is too big now for his lap) while Mrs. Claus took her picture.

Since Mildred Isabella ALWAYS likes making friends, she felt proud that Santa and Mrs. Claus made such a fuss over her.

By the way, if you see the new DVD, Santa Buddies, you will see TWO Great Pyrenees -- just like Mildred Isabella's big "sister" Hannah. One is a puppy and one is full grown.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella's promise and a challenge for you

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, Florida)

Mildred Isabella waits for a command

Mildred Isabella waits for a command

Mildred Isabella is doing GREAT in her service dog training. She is learning to "chain" simple commands into complex ones. That means that with the following words put in order she will be following the commands, one at a time, to accomplish something for me. So, let's say: "Mildred Isabella" (gets her attention) "look" "yes! that's it" "get it" "hold" "bring it" (or take it)"give it" "yes! good job!" Now I will walk you through an example...I was needing the remote control for the TV which had fallen off the couch out of reach...with the above commands Mildred Isabella was able to go and get it. She LOVES these games! She gets her leash if she needs to go for a walk, her food bowl if she is hungry (I have short term memory loss so these are important) but so far she WON'T bring the nail clippers! ha!

Each of the commands is taught by itself, and only when the dog is totally sure of what a word means can you begin to chain the commands...at first with two words ("look, yes! that's it" or "get it, hold") then with three and so on. Soon you are saying sentences and the dog is following the conversation. It really impresses those people that don't spend enough time with their dogs and had no idea that a dog could do such things.

We went to the one year anniversary for Patriot Service Dogs on July 24, 2010. It was wonderful! LOTS of people, sponsors and potential puppy raisers -- and one puppy was given to the foster family also. What a wonderful thing, to see how much this group has grown -- and to know that soon some of the Vets in need of mobility, freedom, help with day-to-day things, and especially love and devotion from a special dog, will be given one of the puppies, grown up and trained to be a "professional" working dog.

Having been a puppy raiser, and now a service dog partner, I have an understanding of both sides of the dog...or coin...first the puppy raiser has to love dogs and yet also love people, because they will someday have to turn that dog over. It is one of the truly selfless things that a person can do! But being a service dog partner I also know how much a life can be changed...before I got my first dog, Patches, I had to rely on a cane, walker, or husband for balance. All of those things are nice things -- for OLD people...and I don't intend to be old yet...smiles...but when Patches came into my life I was FREE! For several years I had only been able to shop in the sections I wanted to...or had to shop in the areas my husband wanted to. Now I shop where I want...for as long as I want! That is important to a girl... I also found out that I could save energy (for shopping) because Patches took a lot of things off my shoulders.

That being said -- please think about becoming a puppy raiser for some organization. Guide dog schools and service dog organizations abound...do a Google search for your area. It will be a year or more of work, tears and heart tugs -- but it will also be the beginning of watching something wonderful happen and knowing you had a part!


Editor's note: Thanks, Viki, for all your wonderful information and inspiration about service dogs. Love to hear how Mildred Isabella is doing too!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella at 7 months

by Viki
(Bryceville, Florida)

Mildred Isabella

Mildred Isabella

Mildred Isabella just turned 7 months old last week. She is being trained as a service dog and I must admit she sure does a good job!

Of course, she will never be my Patches in looks but she has her own cute face and personality.

One of the reasons that I got a Labrador was so that I wouldn't compare her to either Patches or Hannah...and yet, sometimes I do. In some ways she is as gentle as Patches and yet she will still try to bully Hannah. She is much easier to brush than either Hannah or Patches, and the same goes for bathing (if you simply turn on water ANYWHERE she will "come")...

Although it took over a year and a half to teach Patches a solid "get it" and Hannah still won't even think about picking up something for you, Mildred Isabella is awesome. This week at the doctor's office the nurse dropped her pen and before she could even think about bending over, Mildred Isabella had it in her mouth and waiting for the nurse to "take it".

Although I HOPE and PRAY that Mildred Isabella and I will have a very long partnership, in my mind she has already done the largest service for me. In her zest for living combined with a good dose of puppy clumsiness she has kept me laughing even through the intense grief I have had with the loss of Patches. And she has also helped Hannah and my husband get through that same grief.

She is full of life and always doing goofy things...always quick to want you to play with her if you are in the dumps. She makes the rounds...as if she is a one dog doctor, making sure her three patients are okay. She will bring us toys, or climb up on us to lick our faces. Or, if those things fail, she runs around in circles through the house at about the speed of light (okay, maybe a tad bit slower) until we start laughing. It works!

When we are working in public she pays close attention to what needs to be done, although her ears do go up at the sound of children. But unless I tell her she can say hello, she doesn't look their way. Pretty good for a 7 month old!

She has yet to find anything that scares her. She proudly takes the world on...with gusto.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella at the disability conference

by Viki
(Bryceville, FL)

Mildred, Viki and grand daughter Marisa

Mildred, Viki and grand daughter Marisa

Today was a big day for Mildred. Since I have been in and out of the hospital and rehab (four surgeries in 5 months), Mildred has not had to work very much. I am sure she enjoyed her "vacation" and spending time with Hannah, the Great Pyrenees during the day. Still, I missed her!

We went to a disability conference with the emphasis on planning for a disaster. Mildred had to be quiet during each session, staying under the table or beside my chair. This was an all day conference...and only just turning two Mildred still has a lot of energy. She was doing fine until the collie showed up. They caught sight of each other and both said in clear body language that they wanted to play with each other. But the collie had to play by the same rules that Mildred did. Bummer in dog terms...still they both did exactly what we want them to do -- calm down and be quiet no matter what the temptation was.

Between lunch and the afternoon sessions, hubby (Billy) took Mildred for a stroll in the grass to see if there may be a message Mildred might want to leave for another dog...but once he hit the outside he tells me Mildred was having a fit. She did not trust him to come back for me. I guess there must have been one or more times when she left the rehab place without me. She was SO happy to see me when they came back in.


Viki, thanks for the great photo and the update on you and Mildred. Lovely to see what Marisa looks like too - it seems just yesterday that you told us she had been born! Hope you are done with the surgeries...

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella's big test

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, Florida)

Mildred Isabella asking

Mildred Isabella asking

Mildred Isabella was invited to a birthday party for her partner's grandson. Mildred Isabella is a service dog in training and only 20 weeks old and her partner (me, Viki) wasn't quite sure if Mildred Isabella was ready for such an event...

The party was thrown at a bowling alley...and besides the fact that Mildred Isabella is a LABRADOR, always eager to go and "get" whatever is thrown, Mildred Isabella had never been around 4 and 5 year olds that tend to have the explosive power and energy of a nuclear energy plant.

This bowling alley is called Alley Cats and is in Gainesville, Florida. So after an hour and a half ride Mildred was wanting to play! But first I made her do her "business" outside so there would be no accidents. Then we stood up straight and faced the unknown (for Mildred Isabella the unknown was the noise, flying balls, running kids on sugar highs and so on...for me the unknown was how Mildred Isabella would react to any/all of the above).

As you enter, there are alleys on both sides of the isle...Mildred Isabella looked as if she were at a tennis ball tournament...her head moved back and forth to watch the people bowling. But she stayed right beside me and didn't pull at all. She got to shiff some of the big balls and probably was hoping that I would get one out of the racks to play with.

The birthday party was all the way to the end of the isle. The kids were running around or jumping. Mildred wanted to get in on the fun and could feel the energy of the kids, but again she stayed right by my side. I knew she had a lot of energy that she wanted to let out so instead of her having to be under my chair, I let her stand up in front of me (the "front" position is head on one side of the knees, tail on the other side). The kids would come by and try to pet her as they ran past and she was VERY good because she didn't try to "catch" their hands with her teeth! She just wagged her tail.

After the party was over, Mildred Isabella got a surprise. We ended up at my son's house where they have a Bassett Hound puppy named Haley. Haley had been in her crate and Milded Isabella had been in the "crate of behaving well" when she really wanted to play! In other words -- they were BOTH ready to play! And they did...until the tongues hung almost to their knees. Then it was time for us to leave. Both girls needed naps and we had to get back home to check on our other dog, Hannah.

Just before we left, my grandson was petting Mildred Isabella and quietly said, "I like this one". It was nice to get his approval. He misses Patches, my service dog that just passed away. We all know there will never be another Patches but then again, there will never be another Hannah or a Mildred Isabella either!

And so, life goes on and we find fun where we can because life is too short NOT to enjoy.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella sitting on a rock...but not just any rock

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, Florida)

Mildred Isabella and the special rock

Mildred Isabella and the special rock

When we went to transportation training at Disney in December, I had been working with Mildred Isabella for about 6 months. She is a very good girl, and listens most of the time...but there are times when the Labrador in her speaks much louder than my voice (although treats usually will bring her around).

We were at Ft. Wilderness, where there is a large waterfall, with a pool at the bottom and big rocks around that pool...and across the sidewalk is a nice swimming pool that was full of people (and especially kids) along with about a dozen DUCKS.

It was on the rocks in front of the waterfall that Susan, leader of the Patriot Service Dog's "pack," wanted to get pictures of the puppies. She asked me if Mildred Isabella would sit and STAY on the rock and I figured that if she did see the ducks, kids or the pools of water, she would come back to me eventually with tongue to her knees and very tired out. So I said, "Sure!".

So what is special about that rock?? Mildred Isabella sat and STAYED!! That is a special Labrador Retriever magnet rock! It must be...

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Mildred Isabella and the trash can

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, Florida)

Got any trash, lady??

Got any trash, lady??

Last week I had to go to the doctor's office...not a favorite thing to do. Mildred Isabella, as always, came along to be my helper.

She is an AWESOME service dog, even though she is still "in training". She is very smart, obeys well, and loves to learn new things. Lately we have been learning "take it" and "give it" as well as "drop it". The commands are pretty self explanatory...take it means to take it to somewhere you point to or use a laser light to show where you want it taken. Give it means to give whatever they have to the person you show them...and drop it means whatever is in the mouth is released to let fall. We have also been learning to pick up toys and put them in the toy box, as well as taking trash to the trash can.

While waiting my turn to be seen by the doctor, I was looking through a magazine...a postcard type advertisement fell out of the magazine and I asked Mildred Isabella to get it, mostly because the two of us were bored. She lunged at the card with gusto (she does EVERYTHING with gusto!)and would have been able to pick the card up a bit easier if her paw wasn't planted firmly on it. She figured out the problem pretty quick though and handed me the card. Since we were only three seats away from the trash can, I thought I would try to stump my girl...so I gave her back the card and asked her to throw it away.

Mildred Isabella cocked her head sideways as if to say, "say, What??" so I asked her again if she would throw the paper away for me. She looked a bit puzzled but glanced around the room...and spied the trash can -- which by the way looks NOTHING like the trash cans I have at home -- and walked to it, stopping once there as if to ask if that is where I wanted it put. I told her "Yes, good girl! Drop it" and she did it!

A man sitting in the waiting room was watching this entire scene and he proclaimed that she behaves better then his kids do.

Funny, we get that a lot!

Click here to read or post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.

Service dog transportation training

by Viki Gentilman
(Bryceville, Florida)

Transportation day, Disney, 2010

Transportation day, Disney, 2010

In December, three pups from Patriot Service dogs went to downtown Disney for an adventure. Actually it was transportation training -- learning to be comfortable in all types of transportation modes. Liberty, a Golden Retriever pup of only 5 months; Shelby, a yellow lab, 9 months, and Mildred Isabella, the black lab that is my service dog in training, also 9 months (she is only 5 days younger than Shelby). All of the dogs (and their people) got to ride on buses, a boat, and the monorail. They also did some elevator work (learning to push the button -- just the up or down button...they don't really learn to push the buttons for the floors), and posed for many pictures. The dogs got to look pretty and the people got to talk to lots of people about Patriot Service Dogs. We went prepared to face a wet and cold day as predicted but the clouds cleared away and the temperature was just right. I think only Disney could have ordered such a beautiful day!

Patriot Service Dogs is a non-profit company, preparing dogs to serve those who served this country and could use a faithful friend to help them overcome any disabilities. If you are a veteran or know of one that may be interested in obtaining a service dog in the future, you may learn more at:
http://patriotservicedogs.org/

The picture is of Liberty, Shelby and Mildred Isabella (in that order from left to right) waiting for the boat. Three water dogs being VERY good in front of such tempting water.


Editor's note: Such well behaved dogs, indeed, and what a great photo, Viki! Thanks for sharing this and the information for veterans.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Service Dog Stories.